How to Use an Inhaler With Spacer and Mask

December 12, 2019

Asthma inhaler instruction Denver Health Kids Asthma Team

The most common way to take asthma medicine is with an inhaler.

The medicine from an inhaler is sprayed out and needs to be breathed deep into the lungs. In order to get the medicine all the way into the lungs, you need to use a spacer. If you don’t use a spacer, less than half of the medicine will make it into the lungs – most will stick in your mouth and throat.

The following is a step-by-step guide to using an inhaler with a spacer and facemask.

Before taking your inhaler, always look at the counter on the back. This tells you if you still have medicine. If the counter is on zero, the inhaler does not have any medicine left, even if you see a mist come out. You need to get a new one as soon as possible.

Steps to Using an Asthma Inhaler With a Spacer and Facemask

  • Step 1: Stand or sit up straight.
  • Step 2: Remove the protective dust cap that covers the mouthpiece.
  • In this instructional video, Denver Health's Kids Asthma team will show you how to use an inhaler with a spacer and facemask.
  • Step 3: Connect the inhaler to the spacer. Also make sure the mask is firmly connected to the spacer mouthpiece.
  • Step 4: Shake the inhaler hard, at least five times. Make sure the inhaler stays straight up and down while you shake it.
  • Step 5: Place the mask firmly against your child’s face, making sure to keep a good seal at all times.
  • Step 6: Hold the inhaler between your thumb and pointer finger. Push on the top of the inhaler to make it spray medicine.
  • Step 7: Hold the mask in place for 6-8 slow deep breaths. Watch the valve flap on the top of the spacer. This valve flap goes up and down with each breath. If you hear the spacer whistle, your child’s breathing in was too fast.
  • Step 8: Take a break that is long enough for your child to catch her breath again.
  • Step 9: Shake the inhaler again before each puff if more than one puff is ordered.
  • En este video instructivo: cómo usar un inhalador con espaciador y mascarilla.


Remember, if you have questions call your doctor or asthma care team.  Bring your inhaler and spacer to every visit for asthma so you can show us the technique you use.

For more information on using asthma inhalers or to make an appointment with Denver Health's kids asthma team.

The content in this article and accompanying video is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately.